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Rodolphe Martinez

A Freedom to Create

Photography, painting, video, design: so many artistic orientations have guided Rodolphe Martinez for over 10 years now. Also a radio personality for Radio France, he is at the crossroads of multiple digital and traditional artistic techniques. He also questions the equivocal relationship between painting and photography. Let’s meet this Bordeaux-based artist with whom KAZoART loves collaborating!

Hello Rodolphe, we are delighted to have this opportunity to get to know you better! Let’s start with your background. When did you decide to become an artist?

It was a rather long process that began during my childhood. It was fed by being around works of art, travelling, immersing myself in literature and family influence. I had a vague desire to express myself, to share, to show, but the question of being an artist did not arise.

At the time, I did not concentrate my energy towards any single goal as I often had the impression that others were more gifted I was.

The desire to show my work came later, thanks to the legitimacy that others gave me, notably through those first commissions. And without forgetting this close friend to whom I owe my first exhibition in 2008-2009. I think it was at that moment that I understood that my universe could move people.

Your work is rich in hybrid production: photography, painting, video, design. Is this diversity of production your way of exercising a freedom in creation?

In fact, a freedom of creation is of the highest value. I have a lot of trouble creating on a short leash. To become oneself, one must experiment, make mistakes, and on this path, there are revelations. We are multiple, but education, social or commercial constraints force us to have only one language, only one and same practice or thought from childhood to death.

Vue d’Ajaccio

Mixed Media (150 x 100 cm)

My practices also correspond to periods of my artistic life. And it is in perpetual evolution. I consider myself fortunate to be able to jump from photography to painting, and then from sculpture to other mediums. As long as I can be free, I might as well enjoy it.

The question of coherence makes sense in terms of the globality of my production. I remember a gallery owner who asked me to concentrate my work on one means of expression because “that’s what the buyers wanted”. This is a way of saying that collectors only buy by social validation. For me, this is a mistake.

What are your main sources of inspiration?

My sources of inspiration are an inner universe made of poetry, artistic emotions, sensory vibrations, contemplation, soft melancholy, and reflection on the passing of time which is particularly embodied in nature and landscapes. My work is also a sedimentation of all my artistic learning and a tribute to artists from different times and places.

Plage or – mare d’oro

Mixed Media (150 x 100 cm)

Plage ancienne

Mixed Media (150 x 100 cm)

For the themes, the landscape (marine in particular) and nature are predominant. The forest too because it is rather infatuating (especially the parasol pines). But also certain cities like Venice, Rome and London.

I have also worked on the representation of Christ on the cross and even made a model of an altar that was to be placed in the church of Saint-Pierre in Bordeaux. And finally, summer is an inexhaustible source of inspiration.

In addition to the aforementioned sources of inspiration, the woman is a recurrent subject in your works. Can you tell us more about that?

It’s a subject that is both timeless and very much rooted in an era. I think I have always been accompanied by women and fascinated by this “otherness”. Whether it is portraits or nudes, I am always very surprised because it is women who prefer this work. In our time, it is a subject that becomes delicate and can provoke negative reactions.

Le bal 2 Venise

Mixed Media (100 x 150 cm)

La femme tapisserie

Mixed Media (100 x 150 cm)

It is an infinite subject that not only deals with the question of the body or sexuality but more with the questions of freedom, power, unconscious representation and of course, equality.

Is there a relationship between your subjects and the colors used? For example, The Pink Forest, Peacock Blue Pines, Blue Venice, Gold Harvest, etc.

Color is a fundamental part of my work but I very quickly freed myself from the question of how to use it. I employ it almost like children do. It is, however, learned, symbolic and philosophical and very present in the titles of my pieces in monochromatic forms.

Plage or – Mare d’oro

Mixed Media (150 x 100 cm)

You are a fan of large formats. Is this so that your viewers can have a better understanding or appreciation of the work?

Well, I work with small formats too. As a personal goal, I try to make at least one drawing or painting a day. This is of course impossible when working with large formats. Moreover the small format beckons you closer and it is this intimacy that I like.

But I create large formats too because they invade one’s space leaving no room for error. It also confronts one’s own limits, requiring energy and perseverance.

Plage Ancienne by Rodolphe Martinez on exhibition at Bordeaux City Park in the summer of 2018
Rodolphe Martinez made 120 paper sacks to commemorate 120 years of the Librairie Mollat (a renowned family-owned book store in Bordeaux)

What are your plans for 2021?

In May 2021, I will exhibit in Paris at the ÔHM Galerie on Boulevard Haussmann.

I then have several upcoming projects and exhibitions with institutions in Bordeaux and Paris.

Opening of the exhibition of KAZoART at the Halle Héméra. Work is « Pins Blue Peacock » by Rodolphe Martinez printed on a silk scarf by Petrusse.

And finally, this is the third consecutive year that I’ll collaborate with the House of Petrusse for the creation of scarves and ascots, as they create textiles from my work. It is really a beautiful artistic adventure.

Rodolphe Martinez’s Gallery

Coucher de soleil imaginaire

Mixed Media (80 x 120 cm)

Les oiseaux rouges

Mixed Media (100 x 150 cm)

La mer rose

Mixed Media (120 x 180 cm)

What they're saying: KAZoART Customers